Young Adults: Marriage, Partnership, and Parenthood. Discursive Prescriptions and Practices in Contemporary Russia

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Larisa Shpakovskaya
Zhanna Chernova

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Abstract

The article analyzes norms of spousal and parental behavior represented in Russian family law and contrasts them with the meanings young people invest in partnership, matrimony, and parenthood. Federal legislation and interviews with young middle-class residents of Saint Petersburg serve to explore similarities and differences between official discourse and young people’s everyday views of their obligations and freedoms. The article discusses the applicability of the concept of a second demographic transition to gender relations in Russia. The subjects of the Russian demographic shift are young adults who, official discourse notwithstanding, base their reproductive decisions on professional, social, and economic status rather than age.

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